Military News

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

McChord Field Honor Guard honors Vietnam War veteran

by Airman 1st Class Keoni Chavarria
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/29/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Helping to bring closure to a family after a service members death is an honor many people might not experience day-to-day, but for the McChord Field Honor Guard, it is something they deal with on a daily basis.

Recently, the McChord Field Honor Guard presented the family of Tech. Sgt. Hugh Sherburn, a Vietnam War veteran, with an active duty honors ceremony, July 25, at Waldport High School in Waldport, Ore.

Sherburn was an airborne radio communications analyst who went missing in action during his tour in the Vietnam War. He was assigned to the 6994th Security Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with fifth Oak Leaf Cluster, and Purple Heart after the incident.

Sherburn was given full service honors during the ceremony, which included a presentation from the honor guard's pallbearer, color guard, firing party, and bugle team.

"They are a great example and inspiration to everybody," said Brian Norris, Bateman Funeral Homes funeral director from Oregon. "The honor guard has been amazingly helpful and they know exactly what they are doing."

The honor guard's pallbearer team began their trip with a visit to Portland International Airport, Ore., to lead Sherburn off of an air plane and into a hearse, July 24.

From there, the team prepared for the funeral ceremony which took place the next day.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the pallbearer team brought the casket from the hearse and placed it on a stand.

After bringing out the casket, the honor guards firing party fired three volleys followed by a playing of taps by the bugle player.

According to Norris, the performances by the honor guard helps tremendously with bringing closure to the families.

"The compassion, care and the precision the honor guard performs with really, demonstrates to the family that they respect the sacrifice their loved one gave," he said.

Mary Jarvis, Sherburn's sister, was then presented a flag from Capt. Brian Meredith, 627th Force Support Squadron flight commander.

"We think that the presentation the honor guard gives is wonderful," said Jim Neal, Oregon Coast Veterans Association vice president. "We're glad the honor guard can come out and support this event."

The honor guard then concluded the ceremony by retiring the casket.

According to honor guard members, while the ceremony helps bring closure to families, it also gives the teams a sense of honor in helping veterans.

"Giving our brother [in arms] and his family a final closure, with the final ceremonial honors shows that we care about our fallen brothers and sisters and that we will do anything for them," said Senior Airman Angel Laureano, McChord Field Honor Guard lead trainer.

The McChord Field Honor Guard is made up of 30 Airmen who work in this special duty for six months out a year. For more information, call the McChord Field Honor Guard at (253) 982-3775.

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